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Product Development for Startups

George Deeb, Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures, recently mentored the 2016 class of entrepreneurs at Founder Institute Chicago. Here is the presentation he delivered on "Product Development for Startups". The lesson provides high level guidance on: (i) doing your market research; (ii) setting the product vision and roadmap; (iii) creating product specifications; (iv) building a development plan; (v) doing UX testing; (vi) when to build internally or externally; (vii) building budgets; and (viii) setting development KPIs to manage by. This is a must read for any entrepreneur, to learn how best to build their first products.

You can see the matching video of this presentation at this Vimeo link:

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Product Development for Startups

  1. 1. Product Development By, George Deeb October 19, 2016 @RedRocketVC www.RedRocketVC.com 312-600-7560
  2. 2. Managing Partner (2010 to Date) Chairman & CEO (2008-2010) Founder & CEO (1999-2008) Investment Banker (1991-1999) BBA-Finance (1987-1991) About George Deeb
  3. 3. Do Your Research Industry - Understand high level trends and needs Competitors - Know what you are up against, and be better Prospective Customers - Ask what are their current painpoints - Ask their reaction to where you are heading - Get them to be free pilot customers during testing period
  4. 4. Product Vision/Roadmap Build a Business, Not a Functionality - Clearly think through revenue plan and functionality Gather Inputs From All Stakeholders - Employees across depts, technologists, customers MVP to Start - Honda now, Rolls Royce later - Initial architecture decisions could create long-term hurdles Think Through a Three Year Plan (Product is Never Done) - How will Version 1.0 evolve into Version 2.0 and 3.0 Protect Your Intellectual Property - Get good legal advice here on patents and contracts
  5. 5. Product Specifications KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid! - The easier it is to use, the more people will use it - It is better to drive “wisdom”, than “widgets” Pick Platforms - Will you need each of Android, iOS, Web? Start small. Pick Coding Languages - Should you code in HTML, Java, Python or Ruby? Design vs. Development Plans and Teams - Need to optimize for both, they are NOT the same thing Involve Marketing - Incorporate social sharing into your product design
  6. 6. Development Plan Agile Software Development Process - Two week sprints and regroup with new learnings Beta vs. Version 1.0 - Get your MVP live as beta and start testing it - Not officially Version 1.0 until you have tested and are happy New Code vs. Open Source - Don’t reinvent the wheel, plenty of free software out there Hosted Internally vs. The Cloud - Don’t incur big overhead day one, leverage the Cloud
  7. 7. UX Testing Watch Users Play With Your App - Is the interface intuitive—are they doing what we intended - Is the product engaging—does it suck them in from start Leverage Key Technologies - Take advantage of A/B testing—which version works best - Many tools for eye-tracking and user testing
  8. 8. Inhouse vs. Outsource Are You a Technical Founder? - Then building your own team, probably makes sense Are You NOT a Technical Founder? - Either need to partner with a technical co-founder - Or, engage a development agency for your MVP - Perfectly fine to start with agency, but internalize long term What Do VC’s Prefer? - Ultimately, you will need your own team to attract capital Get Good Legal Protections in Both Cases - Make sure all employees, agencies or contractors sign all copyrights over to you
  9. 9. Estimating Costs Project Manager’s Time Developers’ Time Designers’ Time (including UX time) QA Time Third Party Software Licenses – CMS, database, ad serving, credit cards, email mgmt, etc. Hardware Needs Cloud Services/Hosting/Domains Legal Time to Protect IP (e.g., contracts, patents) Proof-of-Concept Marketing Support Whatever You Estimate . . . Build In Cushions to Be Conservative!!
  10. 10. Development KPIs Staying On Time—Break Into Bite Size Parts Staying on Budget Quality Control Metrics Productivity/Resource Utilization Metrics Site Performance Metrics Support Desk Metrics User Satisfaction/NPS Metrics Employee Satisfaction Metrics Financial Return Metrics - Shoot for a 10x ROI on your development spend However Long You Think It Will Take . . . Double It!!
  11. 11. Further Reading http://www.RedRocketVC.com Lesson #20: Setting Your Product & Pricing Strategy Lesson #36: Picking The Best Technology for Your Startup Lesson #70: Protect Your Intellectual Property Lesson #73: Consumer Usability Testing Lesson #118: Market Research for Startups Lesson #129: “Productize” Your Business for Maximum Efficiency Lesson #170: Your Proof of Concept is More Important Than Product Lesson #172: Don’t Finalize Tech Dev Plan Until You Involve Marketing Lesson #197: R&D and Sales Must Be Tied to the Hip Lesson #230: Evolve From Selling “Widgets” to Selling “Wisdom” Lesson #232: Do You Own The Copyright to Your Own Technology Lesson #238: Continue to Innovate, or Die a Slow Death @georgedeeb